Developers looking to build condominiums and townhouses at the corner of White Rock’s Oxford Street and Marine Drive have scaled back plans to reduce the project’s overall height.
But residents who have opposed the project from the get-go say the two-storey change does little to ease their concerns it will negatively impact both their personal lives and the waterfront as a whole.
“I think that it’s still quite a bit out of proportion to what else is in the neighbourhood,” said Bob Berger, a neighbour of the property slated for development. “From everything I have heard and the emails that I have gotten and the requests to get together again as a group, the four storeys are still not acceptable.”
Georgia Laine Developments has asked for amendments to White Rock’s Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws in order to build 90 residential units in two four-storey buildings fronting Buena Vista Avenue and Oxford Street. The applicant also wants to construct a three-storey project fronting Marine Drive, with seven two-storey townhouses over the same number of commercial units.
According to a report scheduled to be presented to the city’s land use and planning committee Monday, staff are recommending council give first and second readings to bylaws authorizing the amendments, then send the amendments to public hearing.
The report notes opposition from residents prompted staff to recommend the proposal be scaled back. The residential buildings were to be six storeys.
“Staff met with the proponents following completion of the public information meeting and more recently sent written correspondence strongly recommending they scale back the proposal, based on the concerns of the public…” the report states.
In assessing the revisions, staff feel the project would bring “new vitality” to the area and support West Beach businesses; and that it would be “a significant aesthetic improvement over the character and appearance of the existing property and older structures on site,” the report notes.
As well, it would be self-sufficient for parking, and applicants have responded to residents’ height concerns.
Residents first learned of plans for the site – which encompasses 14807 Marine Dr., 1184 Oxford St. and 14818 to 14832 Buena Vista Ave. – during an open house hosted by the developer in January. Further details were offered at an April public information meeting held at the White Rock Community Centre, but, like the latest plan, did little to ease concerns.
Residents remain concerned about the precedent that will be set if the project is allowed to proceed, Berger said. An additional sore point is the fact the city is supporting giving a developer leeway when residents weren’t allowed any flexibility in building their own homes.
That “really ruffles the feathers of people in the community,” Berger said.
The report was to be presented to council members June 20.